Flooded Basements: Causes, Prevention, and Water Mitigation
A flooded basement in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, or anywhere in Indiana can be a homeowner’s nightmare. The water damage and flood damage alone can ruin your possessions, soak into the structure of the house itself and damage that, and promote the growth of mold that threatens the health of everyone who lives in the home. Sewage water is a particular health hazard and sewage cleanup must be performed as per EPA and OSHA regulations. Mold removal and professional water damage remediation is needed at this point.
Because of all the headaches a flooded basement can bring, it’s important to understand why it happens and what to do about it.
What Causes Flooded Basements in Indiana?
Sadly, there are a considerable number of basement flooding causes. The laws of physics dictate that water (like all liquids and gases) flows from an area of higher pressure to an area of lower pressure. That means that if your basement is the area of lower pressure, and the barrier intended to prevent such a flow is insufficient to its task, moisture is going to get in. That’s why rainfall, snowfall, backups, and faulty pipes can all result in flooding and the need for flood damage repair. In most cases of water intrusion and floods, there will need to be mold remediation services performed if the water mitigation isn’t done swiftly.
How to Prevent Water In Your Basement
There are a number of things you can do to minimize your chances of ending up with a flooded basement and the need for water damage repair. Specifically, we recommend you do the following:
- Make sure your backwater valve is working. Backwater valves are devices that keep water from seeping from septic or sewer systems into the home.
- Make sure gutters and downspouts are working as they should. Otherwise, water could pool next to the house and find its way into the cellar.
- Flush and dump carefully. Drains and toilets are for waste and toilet paper. If you put anything else down them, you risk clogging the system and creating a backup. That “anything else” includes grease and tampons.
- Repair foundation cracks to keep the barrier between outside and inside secure. If the cracks are small, you might be able to seal them yourselves with an epoxy. If the cracks are relatively large, though, you may well want to call a foundation repair company.
- Insulate your pipes. When pipes thaw, they’re likely to leak.
- Install a leak detector and high-water alarm. They’ll let you know quickly if flooding begins.
- Install a sump pump. These devices remove water from your basement, and they can be lifesavers. It’s a good idea for the sump pump to have a backup source of power. Otherwise a heavy storm and an electrical outage could derive the pump of power just when you need it.
- When it’s been snowing, make sure storm drains are clear and not buried under snowdrifts.
- If a stream runs through your property, keep its banks free of floatable debris. If you don’t, the debris could end up damming the stream and creating a backup.
Flood Cleanup & What to Do Immediately if You Have A Wet Basement
Unfortunately, even if you diligently keep up with all the precautions listed above, it’s still possible to end up with a flooded basement. Thus it’s important to know what to do if that that happens. There are certain steps you should take immediately to keep the problem from becoming truly disastrous.
First, make sure you don’t just step into that standing water in the basement. Water conducts electricity, and the worst possible disaster would be for you to electrocute yourself. Turn the electricity off before you come into contact with the water or, if you have any doubt whatsoever about your ability to make the situation safe, call an electrician.
Second, stop the flow of water. How you do this depends on what the source is.
If the water is coming from a broken or malfunctioning pipe, you’ll need to turn the shut-off valve. If you’re not sure where that’s located, now’s the time to figure it out.
If the water’s coming from sewage backup, you have to stop running faucets and flushing toilets. Running faucets and flushing toilets just adds more water to the flooding.
The good news here is that a sewer company might offer pumping services and/or reimbursement you for any losses. If you have a septic system, however, you’re responsible for dealing with your own problems. You’ll want to call the septic company to have your tank pumped as soon as is practical.
Unfortunately, if it’s groundwater getting in, there’s no quick and easy way to shut that off. If that is your problem, you’ll eventually want to get a structural engineer or waterproofing pro to look for issues with the house’s foundation.
Third, call in the professionals. You need someone with a high-capacity pump to remove the water fast. The longer it sits, the more damage it will do, and the more money it will ultimately cost to fix it.
Fourth, take photos and video of the flooding and the damage. They’ll provide support for any insurance claims.
How to Choose the Right Flood Restoration Services Company In Indianapolis
A competent, reputable flood cleanup company will provide the following:
- Rapid response. A good flood damage repair company will answer your call 24/7 and dispatch a team promptly.
- Free estimates and affordable rates. Naturally, you’ll want to know the price before the flood cleanup begins, and the flooded basement cleanup cost should be fair. A small basement flood cleanup can cost as little as $500 to pump out and dry while a major one could conceivably cost up to $10,000.
- Full warranty. Reputable professionals guarantee all the work involved in the basement flood cleanup.
- Help with insurance claims. A good restoration company can furnish all necessary documentation to your insurance company and bill them directly for the basement flooding solutions. This, of course, assumes your homeowner’s policy includes flood insurance. Some do, but not all. If you’re unsure, now’s the right time to find out one way or the other and add flood insurance if necessary.
- Comprehensive basement flooding repair. Completely addressing a flooded basement generally requires multiple services. Your company should be able to provide them all with trained technicians and state-of-the-art equipment.
How Do Restoration Services Deal with Flooded Basements?
Complete flood restoration and water damage repair requires several steps:
As mentioned above, the first step in flood restoration and water mitigation is to remove any standing water from the wet basement. High-powered vacuums provide fast, efficient water extraction to achieve basement water removal.
The specifics of the next step depend on the type of surface the water in the basement was standing on. A negative-pressure water extraction system makes it possible to remove moisture from water-damaged wooden floors. Sometimes carpet can be salvaged via a weighted extraction system. This applies pressure to the carpet for a few seconds during which water is sucked out and discarded. Other times, though, wet carpet in the basement is beyond saving and must be pulled up and discarded.
Next comes a thorough drying process. The first and arguably the trickiest part of this step is determining everything that needs to be dried because sometimes water has soaked in where its presence isn’t apparent to the untrained eye. The professionals can tell, though, by employing special equipment and the technicians trained to operate it. They then make sure everything is restored to its original condition through rapid drying. Or, if that’s not going to yield satisfactory results, they replace what needs replacing.
When dry, the affected area is treated with an antimicrobial agent to prevent the growth of mold and accomplish mold remediation. If mold has already taken hold, the restoration company provides professional mold removal.
If a flooded basement has left you in need of water removal services, we urge you to contact Five Star as soon as possible. Time is truly of the essence, and our water mitigation company is here 27/7 to take your call.
Five Star Complete Restoration
17215 Harger Court
Noblesville, IN 46060